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Inside

Get in step with Relay for Life; help find the cure page10

Scene

Guest Column

Premier island performance for blues master Roy Rogers

Scales tipped in favor of access to alcohol on San Juan Island ... Where’s the balance? — By Brad Fincher page 7

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Journal

The 75¢ Wednesday, July 4, 2012 Vol. 105 Issue 27

of the San Juan Islands

www.sanjuanjournal.com

PeaceHealth vows no cutbacks in care

Fate of Planned Parenthood prompts concern By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Journal photo / Scott Ramussen

King Fitch, center gets a chuckle as water system supervisor Mike Wilks, right, reads the town’s latest “notice of violation” from the state Department of Health, presented in jest by Steve Deem of DOH, left.

So long ‘Meat & Potatos’ Cheers, tears and a bit of a roast at town CEO’s farewell bash By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor

King Fitch followed a familiar route to town on his last day on the job. But somewhere along the way, he had a thought or two that were altogether unfamiliar. “I started thinking after today that I won’t have to worry about the town’s water supply,” quipped Fitch, noting at the outset of a brief but heartfelt farewell address that the water level of Trout Lake was never far from mind, at least for the past 25 years or so. Few recall the drought years of the early 1990s the way that King

Fitch does. County Auditor Milene Henley is one who does. “I remember how incredibly responsive he was,” said Henley, who butted heads with the town years ago when a waterline construction project turned wellwater at her San Juan Valley home to brown. “We talked to King a lot during those days. He’s a great guy. To stay in that job that long takes an incredible amount of diplomacy.” On June 29, Fitch’s 25-year tenure as administrator of the Town of Friday Harbor came to its official end. A two-hour retirement celebration hosted Friday by the town drew to the Council Chambers a steady stream of local residents, merchants, politicians, well-wishers and public officials, in addition to family, friends and fellow co-workers, and former ones too, as well as

representatives from several state agencies. From the Washington State Association of Cities, Fitch received a plaque noting his years of public service and longevity at his post. From the state Department of Health, which monitors the town’s water quality, he received, a “notice of violation”, in jest, for failure to give adequate notice of retirement of individual whose performance the department deems as “exceeding standards”. Back in 1987, when he was selected for the job by the late Jim Cahail, mayor of the town at the time, Fitch vowed that he would be “accommodating” and be a facilitator. Boundary Water engineer Dan Drahn believes that Fitch made good on those promises. See FAREWELL, Page 4

PeaceHealth officials last week vowed that there would be no scale-back in women’s services when the medical center in Friday Harbor closes its doors and Peace Island Medical Center takes its place as the main provider of publicly funded health care services on San Juan Island. Those promises were made June 20 at a meeting of the San Juan Island Hospital District Commission and follow in the wake of a request from an official with the Catholic Archdiocese in Seattle, sent recently to PeaceHealth’s Bellingham laboratory, asking that the lab cease providing services to Planned Parenthood clinics. With an audience of about 50 islanders on hand, Peace Island Medical Center CEO Jim Barnhart said June 20 that PeaceHealth has no intention of denying services to Planned Parenthood. Barnhart noted that PeaceHealth is an independently operated healthcare provider. “PeaceHealth is not owned, operated or governed by the Catholic Church,” Barnhart said. Peace Island Medical Center, which is slated to open in Friday Harbor at the end of the year, is a unit of PeaceHealth. “PeaceHealth has not discontinued services to Planned Parenthood and will not discontinue services to Planned Parenthood.” A Bellevue-based nonprofit healthcare system, PeaceHealth owns and operates St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, as well as medical centers and rural-care hospitals in Alaska,

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Washington and Oregon. It has been a Northwest healthcare provider for more than a century, and is financing roughly two-thirds of the $30 million construction cost of Peace Island Medical Center, which is slated to open in Friday Harbor, near the airport, at the end of year. As designed, Peace Island Medical Center will be a 10-bed critical access hospital providing expanded primary care and specialty clinic, enhanced diagnostic center, a cancer care suite providing on-island chemotherapy and cancer services and a 24-hour emergency room. As part of a binding agreement approved by the hospital commission, PIMC will replace San Juan Island’s

See PEACEHEALTH, Page 4

A Fabulous 4th Look inside for schedule, location and times of today’s many 4th of July festivities and events, at a glance, page 10.


From Page One

4 — Wednesday, July 4, 2012

PeaceHealth

According to Linda McCarthy, director of the Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood in Bellingham, which also offers services in Friday Harbor, PeaceHealth officials offered assurances but no answers about their next move when she met with them to discuss Archbishop J. Peter Sartain’s letter and its contents. She said that she later received a telephone call from PeaceHealth saying it “will continue business as usual with Planned Parenthood as they tried to find a solution” to the Archbishop’s request and the need for laboratory services for Planned Parenthood clients. If promises are being

Continued from page 1

38-year-old medical clinic, Inter Island Medical Center, once it opens. The hospital district will pass onto PeaceHealth its annual property tax revenue — about $1.2 million a year — to subsidize health care at the new medical center. PeaceHealth Care System was founded by the Roman Catholic Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. In their online “About Us” statement, the Congregation says it will continue their founder’s “emphasis on human rights, especially women’s rights.”

Islanders Interpret The Beatles

NIGHT MUSIC Friday, July 6, 7 pm • San Juan Community Theatre

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“PeaceHealth has not discontinued services to Planned Parenthood and will not discontinue services to Planned Parenthood.” — Jim Barnhart, chief operating officer of Peace Island Medical Center

made, she said that she would like them spelled out on paper. “While we are encouraged to hear a representative of PeaceHealth state publicly they plan to continue providing lab services to Planned Parenthood patients, we have not officially been informed of that news,” McCarthy said. “We look forward to receiving that confirmation in writing.” Barnhart said that doctors in other PeaceHealth clinics and hospitals provide family planning services, including tubal ligations, vasectomies and prescriptions for contraceptives, and that he expects Peace Island hospital and clinics will continue that policy here. Those service are available through Inter Island Medical Clinic at present. Barnhart said that Inter Island Medical Center doctors who will join Peace Island have not provided

elective abortion services at the clinic and have unanimously said they will not provide elective abortions at PIMC. However, Barnhard noted that in emergency situations Peace Island would not interfere in its physician’s medical judgments. Like Barnhart, PeaceHealth’s Michael Garrido, vice president of mission intregration, assured those services would continue and that PIMC’s policies will be put down on paper. “We’ll provide these policies in writing,” Garrido said. Following the meeting, Hospital Commission Chairwoman Lenore Bayuk said that written policies “will be developed by the PeaceIsland Board” (which has yet to be named) and would be available before PIMC opens in November. “Those policies will be consistent with what was said here tonight,” she said.

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“I think he was always calm, even when things got hot, and always fair,” Drahn said. “That’s not easy to do when you’ve worked with so many different councils.” As a mentor, former town councilwoman Carrie Brooks said that Fitch excelled. She praised the patience with which he helped each newly elected council member understand the town’s inner workings and foundation of its finances. Not an easy task, Brooks said, and with some more than others. “I know I drove him crazy,” she said. “I knew zippo when I came in. He taught me to be the councilperson that I was able to become.” Fitch, who turned 65 in January, walks away from the post as the longest-serving city administrator in Washington state, if not the nation. He presided over the town during an era of unprecedented growth. In 1980, a total of 1,200 people called the town of Friday Harbor. By 2010, the population, at 2,162, had nearly doubled. County councilman Howie Rosenfeld, a former town councilman and volunteer fire chief, recalls the priority that Fitch put on taking care of the basics, like improvement of town utilities, roads and installation of sidewalks, curbs and gutters. While plenty of people pushed for taking care of business with experimental ideas, Rosenfeld said that while Fitch would “always listen,” he stuck with “meat and potatoes”, with doing things the way they were supposed to be done, and that little by little the town transformed into what it is today. “I’d say that ‘always’ is the word that comes to mind,” Rosenfeld said. “He was just so steadfast in his approach. He would always give you the time and would always listen, but it was important to him to keep to the basics and to do it right.” In September, Fitch announced that he would be stepping down at the end of June. He has been busy grooming his successor, Duncan Wilson, a former administrator of the city of North Bend, Wash., for the past several months. Wilson acknowledges that he has “big shoes to fill,” and, in recalling his own recent retirement from his North Bend post, that Fitch probably won’t mind if there’s a few bumps and bruises along the way. “We joked about that he wants me to succeed, but not very well,” Wilson said. “I think that’s human nature, everyone wants to be missed.” Given his legacy, the ‘Fitch Years’ will no doubt be remembered. “I feel really blessed to have had this job,” Fitch said. “I’ve truly enjoyed it, and I’m going to miss it.”

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Farewell: Continued from page 1

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Sports

Friday Harbor faces Seahawks... Anacortes, that is... in season opener page 9

Scene

Editorial

Labor Day weekend’s double dose of music, dance, entertainment

Despite doubters, Ag Guild’s Brickworks is here to stay; time for local leaders to climb onboard page 7

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Journal

The 75¢ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Vol. 105 Issue 35

of the San Juan Islands

Alarm raised over merger

www.sanjuanjournal.com

Brickworks readies for remodel By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor

PeaceHealth mulls partnership with Catholic Health hospital group By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Like a latter-day E.F. Hutton avatar, when Jim Barnhardt starts talking, people listen. After an hour of various reports and announcements, the Aug. 22 Hospital Commission meeting moved into high gear when PeaceIsland Hospital CEO Jim Barnhardt started talking about a newly-proposed joint operating agreement between Peace Health Systems, the parent of PeaceIsland Hospital, and Catholic Health Initiatives of Engelwood, Colo. Barnhardt said the agreement would not be finalized until sometime in 2013 and that it is expected to result in joint operations of nine Peace Health System hospitals in Washington, Oregon and California and eight Franciscan Hospitals in Washington and Oregon. The joint operation would be run by a new board with members drawn from both organizations, and would itself be part of the Catholic Health See Merger, Page 4

Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen

An abundance of locally grown produce is just one of many items available at the Farmers’ Market, Saturdays, at the Brickworks Plaza, in Friday Harbor’s Sunshine Alley.

Candidates air issues at GOP event

See Brickworks, Page 4 District 3 County Council candidate Marc Forlenza addresses the crowd at the annual GOP Big Red Barn campaign event, Saturday, Aug. 25.

By Steve Wehrly Journal Reporter

If success of the Republican Big Red Barn event on Saturday, Aug. 25, was measured by the quality of the barbecued salmon, local party activists and candidates would give Republican Chair Michelle Loftus’s gathering “two thumbs up.” County Council candidate Marc Forlenza said he liked the salmon “just fine” and appreciated the opportunity to tell the 60 or so

Build it, and they will come. It’s perhaps a bit of a cliche, but that phrase fits the San Juan Island Agricultural Guild and its Brickworks project to a tee. And the Agricultural Guild passed yet another milepost last week in its planned renovation of the Brickworks building, former home of Friday Harbor Brick and Tile Company and last remaining industrial building in downtown Friday Harbor, as it received a permit allowing for renovation and remodel of the historic building’s interior to proceed. Ag Guild spokesman Stephen Robbins said the success of the events taking place on Brickworks outdoor plaza -- Tuesday’s Music Night, Thursday’s Art Marker and the Farmers’ Market on Saturday -- serve as tangible evidence of the vision of revitalization and community gathering spot that Brickworks has always intended to be. “I think it’s jelling in people’s minds now,” Robbins said. “It’s not just the vision of one or two people any longer, people can actually see it at work.” Dubbed “Brickworks” because of its ties to

Journal photo / Steve Wehrly

assembled Republicans why they should vote for him in the District 3 council race. “I’m not seeking party endorsements,” Forlenza stated, who said the county Democratic Party, which has endorsed Forlenza’s opponent, “hasn’t returned my

phone call” asking to appear at a Democratic event in the county. Forlenza told the audience that the sales tax increase approved by the voters in the recent primary See CANDIDATES, Page 4

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FROM PAGE ONE

4 — Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brickworks: Continued from page 1

Welcome Kate! Pl e a se join us in we lcoming K ate Mu lle n to th e lib ra r y. Sh e is t he librar y ’s n e w c i rc u lati on co o rd i nato r and you will s ee h e r at th e front de sk .

378-2798 sjlib@sjlib.org www.sjlib.org

Friday Harbor Brick and Tile, which manufactured blocks used in the construction of various Friday Harbor buildings, including Town Hall, the interior of the historic building is expected to serve as the home of a year-round farmers’ market, a venue for events, and contain a certified commercial kitchen and storefront once its remodel and “enhancements” are complete. The Guild will need to raise about $300,000 to finance the remodel and another $140,000 to install the kitchen, storefront and several other add-ons, Robbins said. “We hope to start as soon as possible,” he said of the remodel and renovation. “The timing of it is somewhat dependent on funding. Hopefully, it will be ready to go by next summer.” Ag Guild Chairwoman Elaine Kendall said the group is poised to

Merger:

Continued from page 1

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build on its earlier achievements with the building permit, approved last week by the town, in hand. “We are now in position to execute the largest part of the project — the renovation of the historic building to provide a year-round indoor space to complement what has already been accomplished at the site,” Kendall said in a press release. “Hosting the Saturday morning Farmers Market, the Thursday evening Art Market, Tuesday Night Out Music, and several special events have already clearly demonstrated the appeal of this multifaceted project and its communityenhancing contribution to the vibrancy of downtown Friday Harbor.” In addition to financing the remodel through fundraising, Kendall said the Guild also hopes to retire the debt it incurred in purchasing the historic building. The building was purchased two years ago even though the Guild failed to win support of the San Juan County Council for a $400,000 sale of

Initiatives system of hospitals and clinics operating in 18 states with more than $10 billion in revenue and $400 million in operating income. Under questioning from Monica Harrington and Sharon Kivisto, Barnhardt repeated statements reported in this newspaper in July (Peace Health vows no

cutbacks in care, July 4, pg. 1) that PeaceIsland hospi-

tal and clinic would continue to provide all women’s health care services now provided at Inter-Island

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Medical Center. Monica Harrington, a women’s health care activist and co-chair of Washington Women for Choice, was skeptical, telling Barnhardt, the Hospital Commission and the audience of ten, that women on San Juan Island, where she lives part of the year, must be assured that the tax money collected from all the people in San Juan County will not be used to restrict women’s health care rights or advance the

religious agenda or doctrines of any church. After the meeting, Barnhardt stated, “The proposed partnership will have no adverse impact on either the PeaceIsland startup or on the commitment to provide the full range of women’s health care service previously provided by Inter-Island Medical Center.” Barnhardt said that he would be providing a written statement in the next few days confirming his assertions.

Candidates: Continued from page 1

HARBOR

FRIDAY

a conservation easement to the Land Bank. The town council also backed away from investing in Brickworks several months before the county council retreated from the project. Delayed but not deterred, the Guild pressed ahead and bought the building with a $300,000 loan, a $375,000 state grant and a $100,000 federal USDA grant, as well as assorted donations. With building plans approved and contractor resources committed, the Ag Guild is simultaneously launching a major capital campaign to not only complete the building renovation, but also to retire the remaining debt relating to the project’s overall funding. “Initial contributions will allow us to proceed with the renovation as soon as they are received,” said the Ag Guild’s Susie Wampler. “Our next significant payment on the current debt is not due until November of 2013, though we aim to raise the funds we are seeking long before that.”

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isn’t going to end the county’s budget problems, saying “the cuts we must make are not going to get any easier” and, “there cannot be any sacred cows” when the county council writes next year’s budget. Forlenza closed by saying, “I believe in the current county charter”, a statement that Orcas county council candidate Scott Lancaster repeated a few minutes later. Bob Jarman, running against current Councilwoman Lovel Pratt, focused on supporting property rights, but was equivocal about amending the charter. He repeated his website’s criticism of the council’s actions on the Critical Areas Ordinance, saying, “we’re losing our property rights.” Jarman promised the gathering, “I will work to preserve property rights” and ended his talk by saying, “If the majority of voters want a council with three instead of six members, they can change it.” U.S. Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner and U.S. House candidate Dan Matthews were warmly welcomed by the crowd, as was John Swapp, candidate for Washington State Senate, challenging state Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas, in the November general election. All three are in uphill battles against incumbent Democrats, but all three proclaimed optimism, perhaps agreeing with Baumgartner’s closing summation about the election: “It’s going to be a great November because it has to be,” said the state senator, who is trailing U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell after the primary election. Loftus ended the afternoon’s festivities by auctioning off the leftover salmon, adding about $400 to the local party’s treasury.

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Sports

Volleyball team nets backto-back victories page 9

Scene

Editorial

Experience the islands’ bounty in ‘Savor the San Juans’

Public or private? Who gets to call the shots when the medical clinic closes and new hospital opens? page 7

page 11

Journal

The 75¢ Wednesday, September 26, 2012 Vol. 105 Issue 39

of the San Juan Islands

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Recycling center threatens to close Dispute over land-use prompts ultimatum By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen

Hospital District commissioners J. Michael Edwards, far left, and George Foster listen on as Chairwoman Lenore Bayuk reads a letter from PeaceHealth’s Sister Kathleen Pruitt, at the commission’s Sept. 18 meeting.

Islanders press hospital officials for answers Uncertainty over health care prompts letter, 300 signatures By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Islanders voiced concerns last week about the county’s first-ever hospital and its affiliation with Franciscan Health Systems. With a standing room only crowd on hand, questions and answers about Peace Island Medical Center zinged across the room at the Sept. 18 Hospital District Commission meeting. But whether pledges by district commissioners or by PeaceHealth officials will soothe a budding apprehension about the pro-

spective partnership between PeaceHealth, which will operate the medical center now under construction in Friday Harbor, and Franciscan Health Systems, remains to be seen. The medical center is part of the PeaceHealth system of Catholic hospitals and medical clinics in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. It is financing roughly two-thirds of the $30 million construction cost the medical center, which will open at the end of year. It will be a 10-bed critical access hospital providing expanded primary care and specialty clinic, enhanced diagnostic center, a cancer care suite providing on-island chemotherapy and cancer services and a 24-hour emergency room. On Aug. 22, PeaceHealth announced it was engaged in partnership talks with Franciscan

Health Systems, an operator of hospitals and clinics in Washington, and which is owned by health care giant Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver, Colo. It has sparked some community concern that certain health services will not be offered at the new facility. During the meeting, Commission Chairwoman Lenore Bayuk once again reiterated her confidence in the Peace Health representations of future care, and that the panel of elected hospital districts officials would “carefully review and respond to” a list of concerns outlined in a letter endorsed by about 300 islanders and presented to the commission at its latest meeting. In addition, Bayuk read a letter from Sister Kathleen Pruitt, a See Contract, Page 4

About 50 fans of Consignment Treasures turned out for a town hall meeting Sept. 19 at the Mullis Center to show their appreciation of Frank Penwell’s charitable giving. They also had some suggestions for Penwell about tactics and strategies to keep Consignment Treasures open in the face of changes to county development rules which, in Penwell’s view, threaten to shutdown the non-profit recycling processing center. “I’ll close Consignment Treasures if my property becomes non-conforming,” said Penwell. Referring to his claim that the new critical areas ordinance opens up his recycling center on Roche Harbor Road to criminal charges, he said, “I don’t want my employees to face criminal charges.” Former San Juan County landuse planner Francine Shaw, a Penwell advisor, gave a quick synopsis of the history of Consignment Treasures. “The land has been used for commercial purposes since 1978 and Frank has obtained all the permits he needs for processing recycled materials, but he’s not supposed to be a recycling dropoff point” Shaw said. She added that he even has state approval to be an e-recycler - the only one on San Juan Island. When County Council candidate Bob Jarman asked for a show of hands of people who had been a patron of Consignment Treasures, virtually everyone raised their hands. Even Lovel Pratt and Howie Rosenfeld, who Penwell identifies as his chief

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County Council antagonists, raised their hands. Nobody in the room, it seemed, wants to see Consignment Treasures closed — except perhaps neighboring resident Mark Larsen, who said, “The place is an eyesore. I wish it would go away.” Larsen stood up and made that statement seconds after Penwell declared, “There’s never been a complaint from people in the neighborhood.” Another neighbor, Katherine Dawson, spoke up. “I have no problem with Consignment Treasures,” she said, adding, “it’s amazingly clean.” The most political moment of the evening occurred earlier, when Bob Levinson declared, “Part of the problem is that he (Penwell) is

See Treasures, Page 3

Call today!

Contact Roxanne Angel at 378-5696 to reserve your ad space for our Women in Business section which will be published on October 17, 2012.


From Page ONe

The Journal of the San Juan Islands | SanJuanJournal.com

Contract: Continued from page 1

life measures, funding health care not available through PeaceHealth and contractual provisions relating to withdrawal from the agreement between PeaceHealth and the Hospital District. The Catholic identification of PeaceHealth, and the public funds dedicated to PIMC for 50 years under the contract between the district and Peace Health, has led islanders to seek assurances that reproductive health care services now offered at IIMC, such as contraception, will continue to be delivered at PIMC. Previously, PeaceHealth announced that abortions will not be provided, and that IIMC doctors have themselves decided they will not provide that service. Exceptions are provided, according to PeaceHealth documents, “when a woman’s life is in danger or in the case of an imminently lethal fetal anomaly.” Emergency contraception (“Plan B”) will be offered in cases of sexual assault. Vasectomies and tubal ligations are performed “when it is determined that such a procedure is medically indicated,” PeaceHealth documents state. PIMC Chief Operations Officer Jim Barnhart has assured local residents and the hospital commission that all services presently provided by IIMC will be continued.

4 — Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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board member of PeaceHealth and a member of the newly named board of PIMC, which said flatly, “The commitments we made to you will be honored.” Twice the letter repeated, “A promise made is a promise kept.” Pruitt, who participated at the meeting via telephone conference link, added that, “This is an opportunity for Peace Health and the local community to show what can be done in working together to carry out the values and goals that we share.” Concern over contract PIMC will replace San Juan Island’s 38-year-old medical clinic, Inter Island Medical Center, once it opens. The hospital district will pass onto PeaceHealth its annual property tax revenue – about $1.2 million a year – to subsidize health care at the new medical center. In recent weeks, around 300 islanders have formed the Coalition for Health Care Transparency and Equity. At the meeting, Monica Harrington distributed a letter signed by all coalition members. Among other things, it asked, “What written and legally binding guarantees did the hospital get from PeaceHealth that services and practices currently available through InterIsland Medical Center… will be available in theory and in practice at the new taxpayer-subsidized medical facility over the life of the agreement?” The letter also raised other issues relating to end-of-

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Written guarantees wanted Despite assurances, some remain skeptical. Harrington and Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood CEO Linda McCarthy want to know where in the contract these promises were made. “To be enforceable, these promises must be in the contract,” Harrington said. Nancy Steiger, CEO of St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, a PeaceHealth unit that will be collaborating extensively with PIMC, referred to a “Statement of Common Values” prepared by PeaceHealth, urging everyone to read that statement in conjunction with the contract. Robb Miller, executive director of Compassion and Choices, who has worked with PeaceHealth on implementation of the Death With Dignity initiative, relaxed a little of the tension in the room by saying that he’s worked very well with PeaceHealth. “Much better than with other Catholic hospitals in Seattle,” Miller said. “I want to say that Peace Health has always kept its end of any bargain. Our negotiations about information and referrals have always been honorable and honest.” Harrington later issued a statement confirming her insistence that contract language needs to be included in the discussion. “Contracts exist to delineate responsibilities and resolve ambiguities,” she wrote. “This 50-year contract gives too much discretion to a religious institution over how our taxpayer dollars will be spent.”


OPINION

The Journal of the San Juan Islands | SanJuanJournal.com

Editorial

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 — 7

Guest Column

rights deserve protection Blind faith? Patients’ With public money in the mix, islanders have

I

t need not be today, or tomorrow, or even by next week. Still, we believe this community deserves an explanation about how decisions regarding the future of publicly funded health care will be determined, as well as having a level of certainty with respect to what medical service will be available over the long run. After all, 50 years is a long time. Given that the opening of Peace Island Medical Center — and the closure of Inter Island Medical Center — is just around the corner, the San Juan Island Hospital Commission ought to clear up the uncertainty that now surrounds its relationship and 50-year contract with PeaceHealth sooner, rather than later. Health care on this island is poised to take a big step forward when PIMC opens its doors. No doubt about that. The benefits that PeaceHealth’s 10-bed critical access hospital will provide are many: expanded primary care and specialty clinic, a 24-hour emergency room, chemotherapy and cancer services, to name a few. In addition, EMS officials predict that the number of patients flown or ferried off-island for treatment can be reduced by 40 percent or more because of the array of services PIMC is expected to provide. Nevertheless, PeaceHealth’s prospective partnership with Franciscan Health Systems, owned by health care giant Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver, Colo., is worrisome. How would decisions affecting medical services at PIMC be made should that partnership become a reality? Who would call the shots? Though we have faith in PeaceHealth’s track record and in the assurances of its officials, situations can change over time. And, the hospital commission, in its contract with PeaceHealth, committed handing over roughly $1 million in local property tax revenue each year to help subsidize PIMC operations. Bottom line: the public deserves to know what it will be getting for its money.

PUBLIC MEETINGS SJC Lodging Tax Advisory Committee: Sept. 26, 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., meeting via teleconference. n FH Port Commission, Sept. 26, 4 p.m., Ernie’s Cafe, 744 Airport Circle Drive. n SJI School District Board of Directors, Sept. 26, 6 p.m., FHHS Library, 45 Blair Ave. n SJI District 3 Fire Commission, Sept. 27, 3 p.m., Mullis Street fire station, 1011 Mullis St. n Friday Harbor Town Council, Oct. 4, noon & 5:30 p.m., Town Council Chambers, 60 Second St. n Island Rec Commission, Oct. 4, 5 p.m., Island Rec office, 580 Guard St. n SJC Citizens Salary Commission, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Council Hearing Room, 55 Second St., FH. n

a vested interest in the services PIMC provides

T

By Monica Harrington

o the editor: Thank you for helping to promote a productive conversation about the new PeaceHealth hospital and the concerns so many of us have with the subsidy contract now in place. (As of this writing more than 300 people have signed onto the letter asking the hospital board commissioners to respond in writing to specific questions.) Beyond the very specific contract issues, there’s a higher level issue at stake: Is a subsidy agreement for a faith-based institution constitutional if it requires taxpayers to subsidize religious-based beliefs and practices with which they do not agree? These types of questions are not new. The Founding Fathers had strong views about religious freedom. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution.” Benjamin Franklin, another Founding Father, wrote, “When religion is good, it will take care of itself. When it is not able to take care of itself, and God does not see fit to take care of it, so that it has to appeal to the civil power for support, it is evidence to my mind that its cause is a bad one.” More than a hundred years later, these sentiments were echoed by James A. Garfield in 1880, in his letter of acceptance of nomination for the presidency: “The separation of Church and State in everything relating to taxation should be absolute.” In working through these important issues, people might want to consider: n Islanders are patients and taxpayers, with a vested interest in how our only hospital and major medical facility operates. n Our federal (Medicare/Medicaid) and local property tax dollars will be a major funding source for the new hospital. n The current agreement provides for a guaranteed subsidy to PeaceHealth for 50 years of 95-97 percent of taxes allowed under the levy powers of the hospital district’s taxing authority. n All revenues for services provided at the new hospital facility will go to PeaceHealth.

Monica Harrington

n According to the contract, PeaceHealth, which describes itself as a Catholic Health Ministry, is obligated to provide healthcare services “in a manner that is consistent with its mission, values, and ethical policies, as they may be amended.” n PeaceHealth has announced its intent to merge with a division of Catholic Health Initiatives, which requires all of its employees to adhere to the Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives as a condition of

employment. n Among other things, the bishops’ directives forbid contraception, sterilization, and abortion in all cases, including in cases of rape, incest, and extrauterine (ectopic) pregnancies. They also require artificial hydration (a feeding tube) for situations in which a patient is in a persistent, vegetative state, regardless of what that patient’s advance directive might say. Healthcare is different: It’s important to safeguard the rights of patients because people need care when they need it, often when they are at their most vulnerable, and often in situations where they’re not capable of making informed, free decisions. The growing power imbalance between the individual patient and ever larger, consolidated health care institutions makes the need for safeguarding patient rights even more acute. From a taxpayer perspective, none of us should be required to directly subsidize religious-based institutions, but those subsidies become even more egregious in a healthcare setting, when institutions require their own employees to violate standards of care advocated by leading medical practitioners. In this context, a recent quote is important to consider: “The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believes that access to family-planning counseling and to the full array of contraceptives is a basic and essential component of preventive health care for women.”

— James T. Breeden, president, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - May 22, 2012

Thank you again for providing a forum for discussion of these important issues and ideas.

— Editor’s note: San Juan Island’s Monica Harrington, a former technology executive, has worked for several well-known regional companies and nonprofits over the past 30-plus years.

As I See It

Is this what we want to go back to? CRC dismisses principals of good gov’t, like separation of powers

I

By Charlie Bodenstab

n early November you will be asked to approve three propositions put forth by the Charter Review Commission. All three propositions are burdensome and destructive. I’ll focus on just one area at this moment to illustrate the absurdity of what you are being asked to ratify. The proposed amendments would have us going back to the old threelegislator model, where both the legislative and the administrative functions are controlled by the council. No separation of powers (a sacred principle of our U.S. Constitution), no

proportional representation (another violation of the constitution) and most importantly, no limits on the ability of individual council members to meddle in dayto-day running of Charlie Bodenstab the county departments. I was one of the Freeholders elected in 2004 to create a Home Rule Charter. During the writing process we interviewed a number of staff members to determine their views on the threelegislator model. I was repeatedly told that the meddling of the individual commissioners was so prevalent that it was a nightmare to run their departments efficiently. In fact, they made an issue that the

management structure invited practices where the commissioners would repeatedly intervene to get preferential treatment for one of their constituents. To say that this is a corrupt practice is not a stretch, particularly if you are being disadvantaged to the benefit of someone with pull. Is this what you want to go back to? If you find these comments hard to believe, consider the following excerpts from a recently published letter written by Colin Maycock, president of Local 1848 of the county union urging his members to vote “No” on the amendments. “…Often the Commissioners used departments and staff as proxies in their own rivalries and disagreements, with one commissioner demanding a specific result from staff on one day while another commissioner

See Principals, Page 8


Sports

Vikings rally; Wolverines upset bid falls just short page 16

Island Scene

High school community projects unveiled, tonight page 9

Guest Column

OPALCO’s venture into expanded broadband would require a huge investment... so, who gets to decide? page 7

Journal

The 75¢ Wednesday, January 16, 2013 Vol. 106 Issue 3

of the San Juan Islands www.sanjuanjournal.com Council, MRC clash A public art ‘tail’ over leadership role in marine protection

Rift revealed in stance on work windows, no-go zones By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Journal photo / Steve Wehrly

San Juan artist Micajah Bienvenu, center, contemplates the display of his sculpture, ‘Whale Tail’, following its installation at the intersection of A and First streets. Read the story of how the Town of Friday Harbor came to buy its first piece of public art, and the fundraising drive that made that purchase possible, at www.sanjuanjournal.com

ACLU enters Peace Island fray Civil liberities group claims subsidy of tax revenue violates state law, ‘urges’ contract redo By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Claiming that the contract with PeaceHealth violates state law and the state Constitution, the ACLU of Washington is urging the San Juan County Public Hospital District to renegotiate its 50-year agreement with the Vancouverbased regional hospital and medical center conglomerate. In a Jan. 3 letter to the hospital district, the ACLU cites the “religious establishment” clause in Article I, Section 11 of the state constitution as authority for its claim that the $1 million annual subsidy may “impermissi-

bly support” religious restrictions on reproductive and end-of-life health services. The ACLU letter follows a September letter from the islandbased Coalition for Health Care Transparency and Equity, which sought assurances from the Hospital District commission that PeaceHealth, as a Roman Catholicbased organization, would offer a full range of reproductive and end-of-life services, even if such services would not be provided under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services promulgated by the Roman Catholic bishops.

Attention to the Ethical and Religious Directives in the Coalition’s letter was prompted by a PeaceHealth disclosure that PeaceHealth was in negotiations with Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver, Colo., to join with other CHI hospitals form “a fully-integrated new health system”. CHI is the second-largest Catholic health care network in the U.S. and on its website proclaims its adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives. As a junior taxing district, the Public Hospital District levies two property taxes, one of which subsidizes emergency and underfunded primary care and the other for providing EMS and MedEvac services. The emergency and underfunded primary care subSee ACLU, Page 4

The executive committee of the Marine Resources Committee has been asked to meet with three members of the San Juan County Council in response to contacts between the MRC and state and federal agencies. Newly installed council Chairman Jamie Stevens commented on the MRC and the results he hopes to see from the meeting: “The Marine Resources Committee performs a valuable and important service for the council and the county. I expect the smaller group to bring back to the council a plan for expanded communications between the council and the MRC.” The council decided to hold the meeting after Councilman Rich Peterson thought recent interactions between the MRC and two agencies, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, appeared to him that the MRC was engaging in setting policy on issues involving preservation of salmon and orca populations. The two issues - “no-go zones” for orca protection and the work closure period to protect juvenile salmon in San Juan County - have raised concern on the council that the MRC’s “valuable role in protecting and enhancing the marine environment doesn’t conflict with the council’s policy setting role,” said councilman Marc Forlenza, Friday Harbor, who will be attending the meeting along with Peterson and Patty Miller, East Orcas. At a Dec. 5 meeting of the MRC

2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

in Friday Harbor, Peterson came prepared with a council resolution stating, “The County’s position regarding the “NoGo Zone” as proposed by the National Oceanic and At m o s p h e r i c Rich Peterson Administration will be that position articulated by the San Juan County Council and not that of any of its subcommittees or advisory groups.” The National Marine Fisheries Service, an agency of NOAA, proposed a new “public outreach program” to reconsider its 2009 pro-

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From Page One

4 — Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ACLU:

www.sanjuanjournal.com

cont. from page 1

sidy, about $1 million per year, is dedicated by contract to the Peace Island Medical Center. The subsidy is central to the ACLU allegation that the hospital district is supporting religious restrictions on reproductive and end-of-life services. Kathleen Taylor, executive director of ACLU of Washington, explained the ACLU action in a statement to the Journal: “We’re paying attention to this issue because we’ve seen an increase in hospital merg-

The Journal of the San Juan Islands | SanJuanJournal.com

ers. Since reproductive freedom is such a fundamental right for women, the ACLU wants to ensure that access to medical services at the hospital includes access to fundamental reproductive health services. And we want to make sure the hospital honors people’s rights to make decisions about end-of-life care.” In a Jan. 11, press release, the hospital commission responded, saying “We respectfully disagree with the conclusions drawn by the ACLU in its letter, however, we are considering what, if any, action is neces-

Clash: Continued from page 1 posal to ban all boats from a half-mile-wide strip along much of the west side of San Juan Island, where killer whales cruise during the summer. Several people at the meeting spoke against any reconsideration, and so far NMFS has not

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sary on our part.” The statement reiterated the position taken by the commission in its response to the transparency coalition, that there had not been and would not be any loss of health care services previously provided by the hospital district through Inter Island Medical Center, including reproductive and end-of-life services. Lenore Bayuk, chairwoman of the hospital commission, also said the commission would discuss the ACLU letter as part of its Jan. 16 meeting.

Almanac TEMPERATURES, RAINFALL San Juan High Low Precip Jan. 7 49 40 .28 Jan. 8 49 40 1.40 Jan. 9 46 39 .04 Jan. 10 42 36 .01 Jan. 11 38 29 — Jan. 12 37 29 — Jan. 13 36 28 .01 Precipitation in January: 2.21” Precipitation in 2013: 2.21” Reported by Weather Underground Roche Harbor Water Systems Jan. 16 Jan. 17 Jan. 18 Jan. 19 Jan. 20 Jan. 21 Jan. 22

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announced any outreach meetings on the issue. At the same Dec. 5 meeting, the MRC approved a letter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on the “work window closure period”. In 2005, as part of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan, DFW designated March 15 to June 14 as the time that near-shore construction throughout Puget Sound would be restricted or even closed. The MRC letter proposed “WDFW and the San Juan MRC work together again to revise the work window closure period . . . to better reflect the time that juvenile salmon are actually in our waters.” The letter continued: “Recent local research documents that juvenile salmon are present in our area at least from March 15 through October 31. Therefore, we request that WDFW revise the work window closure period to better reflect the conditions in the San Juan Islands.” Philip Anderson, director of DFW, responded that the department would “contact the MRC to schedule a meeting in February to discuss the work closure window.” Councilman Peterson termed the letter and its advocacy of an extended work-window closure as “problematic.” “The policy underlying that kind of action should be proposed by the council responding to the advice of the MRC, not by the MRC itself,” he said. Peterson said he expects that he, Forlenza and Miller would meet with the MRC executive committee within the next few days, and said the subject of advisory committees, including the MRC, would be a topic for the annual council retreat on Monday, Jan. 14.

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